PREVIEWS: Kes at the Cast Theatre

Sally Carman with cast members in rehearsals. Picture: James Mulkeen
Sally Carman with cast members in rehearsals. Picture: James Mulkeen
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Kes, Cast theatre, Waterdale, Doncaster. Runs from September 5-13

Adapted by Philip Osment and Cast’s Director Kully Thiarai, Kes, features live falconry and stars Doncaster- born Shameless actress Sally Carman as part of a professional cast of six, alongside a large community ensemble.

The production comes to the Cast Theatre for an eight day run next month.

The play tells the story of Billy. He’s useless, or at least that’s what everyone tells him. His mother is more interested in finding a man, his brother bullies him, his teachers humiliate him and he’s always the last to be picked at football. For boys like Billy, there’s no escape. But one day he adopts a fledging kestrel and cares for it with a tenderness so absent in his own life.

As the bird soars above him and swoops onto his gloved hand, Billy dares to dream of a life away from his run-down estate and a job in the coal mine.

Set in South Yorkshire in the 1960s the original book and later film have a timeless popularity.

A new version for Doncaster, adapted to include Billy as an adult, looking back on his life, the show builds on the success of Cast’s first home-grown production, The Glee Club.

The cast of Kes is Jacob James Beswick (Billy), Ben Burman (Jud), Sally Carman (Mrs Casper) Ray Castleton (older Billy), Jim Pope (Mr Sugden) and Jow Rose (Mrs MacDowell).

Doncaster-based actress Sally Carman is best known for her long standing role as Kelly-Marie Maguire in Channel 4’s Shameless (series 2 – 11).

She also played the role of Marie in Paddy Considine’s film ‘Tyrannosaur’. Other TV credits include the BBC 1 drama ‘Prisoners Wives’, ‘Casualty’ and ‘Doctors’. Recent theatre credits include ‘Beautiful House’

(Manchester Library Theatre), ‘Lisa’s Sex Strike’ (Northern Broadsides), ‘Smoke’ (New Vic Theatre Company/Stephen Joseph Theatre).

Kully Thiarai said of the production: “Like our first production Richard Cameron’s The Glee Club, Kes is a local story, which we feel is our story and the perfect thing to mark our first birthday.”

“This is a new production, adapted by myself and writer Philip Osment, done our way, featuring live falconry and a community ensemble alongside home-grown professional actors.”

“We’re immensely proud of what we’ve achieved at Cast in its first 12 months and one thing we’ve been determined to achieve and have achieved, is to make Cast Doncaster’s ‘cultural living room’ – a space that the community can take real ownership of. Kes fits the bill for us because it’s a big story full of heart – it’s a local story – and we’ve adapted it in a way that might surprise those who know the story, and will delight those who are new to it!”